Policy must support the whole farming sector to transition to agroecology, drive positive change in the agri-food supply chain, and give a voice to pioneers in the sector who are leading the way in nature and climate friendly farming.

Policies should ensure a diversity of farm types and sizes in the UK. and deliver for climate, nature, jobs, livelihoods, new entrants, food security and affordability, public health, and many other factors. 

The attention is on the Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes, but we need a broader vision for the future, backed by public and private money, that moves us towards:

  • Agroecological farming systems like organic, pasture-fed and agroforestry

  • Community Supported Agriculture and social enterprises built on equity and local food

  • Support for new entrants, succession planning and knowledge exchange

  • Investment in local supply chain infrastructure while removing barriers to local food systems

Read our policy paper on the role agroecology must play in Environmental Land Management

What is agroecology?

Agroecology: the application of ecological concepts and principles to optimise interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for a sustainable and fair food system. By building synergies, agroecology can support food production, security and nutrition while restoring the ecosystem services and biodiversity that are essential for farming. Agroecology can play an important role in building resilience and adapting to climate change. It is also based on cultural diversity and open knowledge sharing, while supporting decent livelihoods for all who operate in (farmers and workers) and rely on (citizens) the food system.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) 10 elements of agroecology

We are championing agroecology with our members by:

  • Working with our members and parliamentarians to create a new Agriculture Act that includes agroecology
  • Advocating for the inclusion of agroecology within the development of Environmental Land Management (ELM)
  • Conducting policy appraisals and research that highlight the role agroecology can play in wider farming policy
  • Promoting agroecology sas a Nature Based Solution (NBS), for climate mitigation and adaptation.
  • Providing space for farmers and growers to use their voice in supporting the farming sector towards agroecology
  • Carrying out market research to understand how supply chains can be fairer, better and more farmer-focused
  • Doing research and mapping type work of farming, supply chains and community engagement
  • Supporting the Oxford Real Farming Conference and Groundswell Ag as key knowledge exchange events
  • Running and supporting seminars, workshops and webinars with partners and stakeholders
  • Producing a wealth of briefings, reports and articles to engage farmers and growers in policy-making
  • Bringing agroecological farmers and growers into development of our work

Sustainable farming policy: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

Sustain
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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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